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Friday, September 7, 2012

Is that a grass burn we're inhaling?

We're catching the smell of burning grass this morning in northeast Portlandia. We didn't think that the handful of grass farmers in the Willamette Valley who are still allowed to burn were permitted to do so when the breezes are blowing up toward the metropolitan area. Usually they wait until right before it's supposed to start raining. But with temperatures expected in the 90s this afternoon and air quality already a bit dicey, it's surprising that the state has given the green light this morning.

UPDATE, 10:51 a.m.: A reader suggests that it's the White Salmon wildfire that's blowing this way. Winds have been from the west this morning, however, and that's the other way.

UPDATE, 10:56 a.m.: Apparently the winds are shifting around to the east, and it is the burning grass out in White Salmon that we're breathing, and will be all day. Yuck! At least it isn't the dang grass farmers.

Comments (14)


Wildfire near White Salmon.

Probably the incinerators of the Clackamas County Commissioners and their lawyers, reducing those inconvenient piles of newly shredded paper.

Portland Fire & Rescue - 09/07/12
Portland Fire & Rescue has been receiving a large volume of calls from citizens (particularly those in east county) concerned about smoke in the area. With a major wildfire just east and to the north of us, (White Salmon, WA), Portland has been downwind of the fire all morning. With the current wind coming from the NE at near 10 mph, Portland is likely to experience smoky conditions until the fire goes out or the wind shifts.

The Highway 141 Fire is located along the east side of Hwy 141, approximately 2 miles north of White Salmon, Washington. The fire started at approximately 1:30pm on Wednesday, Sept. 5th. The fire is currently approximately 1,200 acres this morning and is considered to be 40% contained. Current information on the status of this fire can be obtained here: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3238/

Portland has been downwind of the fire all morning.

That part's wrong. At the airport, the wind was westerly until about an hour ago.


Those "dang grass farmers" have had a tough time lately. The grass seed market has shriveled in the Bush Fallout Economy. But, these guys are smart - they converted to other crops, bring in over $5 Billion in farm product sales in 2011. This represents a 19% increase from 2010. So, while the "creatives" are bumping along in their barista jobs, those "dang grass farmers" have adapted and are giving an added boost to Oregon's economy.

The asthma treatment jobs they've created are really impressive, too.

Portland Fire is also conducting a 2 acre "controlled burn" in St. John's to get rid of invasive species.

This smoke has been prevalent for the last three days whether or not you've noticed. It is from the White Salmon. The temperatures we've experienced these last several days only occur when the hot, dry air pushes in from the eastern part of the state, down the gorge. If the prevailing weather system was from the west, we would be cool with more moisture.

In the evenings and overnight, the winds have been from the west.

Yeah, and the smoke has noticeably cleared out then. Speaking of overnight (and off topic), the dog got me up the other morning around 3:00. If you happen to be awake before dawn, check out Jupiter. It's magnificently bright.

Have any of you seen estimates of how much "greenhouse" gas is emitted from the average summer wildfire season compared to auto emissions?

We've been getting Idaho smoke for weeks. Enjoy the beautiful sunsets!

Yeah; let's pave over those grass-seed fields.

The asthma treatment jobs they've created are really impressive, too.

Tell me about it - my wife's asthmatic, and she's been using the nebulizer for the past 3 days. She almost never has to go that route.

Even last month when we got smoke from wildfires in Asia, it wasn't this bad for her.

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